Matthias Alexander Castrén’s notes on Nenets folklore
This article contextualizes Nenets folklore notes taken by M. A. Castrén from three different angles. First, it discusses the historical research background of Castrén’s work, situating his field expeditions especially in the context of ethnography which was a new and developing discipline during Castrén’s research. Second, the article examines the Nenets generic system as a flexible regime, and discusses how Castrén has categorized the texts he collected. Third, the article discusses the processes of textualization and the performance of Nenets epic poetry and shows that not only that Castrén had systems of textualization of the Nenets oral poetry in use, but also Nenets did. These are related to the different levels of dialogicality in the performance of Nenets epic poetry, of which only some can be interpreted in the texts written down by Castrén.